Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: A Year of Reading in Review

2014 was the year of more nonfiction than fiction: Thou shalt not read two works of fiction in a row.

That ended up translating to a lot of memoirs, but more generally...some really excellent reads. Fittingly, most (but not all!) of the books named below are nonfiction of one sort or another.

Final tally: 369 books read in 2014 (yes, it has been suggested to me that I read too much), of which 238 -- 64 percent -- were nonfiction. Mission accomplished!

Best nonfiction read of 2014: Claiming Ground by Laura Bell. Bell moved to Wyoming when she was fresh out of college, expecting a brief sojourn before starting her 'real life'; thirty years later, she hadn't left. (Review on Goodreads here.)

Honourable mentions: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (review); I Dare to Say, edited by Hilda Twongyeirwe (review); Ten Days in a Mad House by Nellie Bly (review); Story/Time by Bill T. Jones (review).

Best fiction: Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko. A girl grows up in Idaban; her life is happy, sometimes, but more often...complicated. Lots of nuance in this book, and lots of strong, interesting characters -- male and female alike. (Review here.)

Honourable mentions: Pointe by Brandy Colbert (review); Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (book link); Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (review).

Best graphic work: The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert. The (nonfiction) story of a photographer who went to Afghanistan with Médecins Sans Frontières in the 1980s to document the work they were doing there. Lefèvre, the photographer, died in 2007, but this work includes a vast array of his photos. (Review here.)

Honourable mentions: Tomboy by Liz Prince (book link); Lighter than My Shadow by Katie Green (review).

Best LGBTQ book: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis. Two teenagers from different worlds -- teenagers of colour, with disabilities -- must come together to understand the link between their lives and that which is threatening them. A good book to begin with, but even better for featuring characters who are queer, who are people of colour, who have disabilities...sometimes all at once. (Review here.)

Honourable mentions: Transparent by Cris Beam (book link); Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert (review); Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (review).

Best book about the Camino de Santiago: Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp. Rupp is a retired nun and an experienced writer, and she took a nonlinear approach to writing about the Camino, focusing instead on lessons she'd learned along the way. (Review here.)

Honourable mentions: Following the Yellow Arrow, edited by Lynn K. Talbot and Andrew Talbot Squires (review); All the Good Pilgrims by Robert Ward (review).

Now what? It's the first of January, and I don't have a reading goal...except perhaps to read a little less and live a little more. (Or at least write a little more.) In the meantime, off I go to find my next book!

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